“Willing to relocate,” was a phrase I put at the bottom of my resume in English class when I was 16. My mom and sister thought it was hilarious, but I was not joking. I’ve always been a wanderer, and if it’s not in the physical sense, it’s through hearing other people’s stories of their travels, books and dreams. Sean, my partner in this life, has the same desire to wander, it’s something that we share and talk about often. We enjoy taking adventures together, just the two of us, and it has been a while.
I never imagined we’d be ready to go anywhere without the kids until we were finally ready. Three nights in Mexico (!!) alone! It was a bit surreal, so so fun and everything I’d dreamed it would be.
I wouldn’t say we traveled often before kids, but for a while we took some pretty great trips during our dating years and early marriage. I’d studied in Italy and Sean was later stationed in Italy and Germany with the Air Force so we got to spend some time abroad together. Then in the 6 months before I was pregnant with Brady, we got to travel to St. John for my best friend’s wedding and then we did a 2 week journey from London to Rome.
Then we had kids. : )
I’m an advocate of traveling with kids if that’s what you want to do. And it has been what we have chosen some of the time. We’ve ventured to Portland, Oregon, the Jersey Shore, Charleston and the Hudson Valley. Nothing too wild, but just enough for us to satisfy our cravings to discover new land, food and people.
We both love to travel and really enjoy it together so to be able to take a mini adventure with just each other was a huge gift (thank you to Sean’s parents and my mom).
I truly enjoy travel research and poking around to find a location and a place to sleep that is unique and fits our tastes. I like to build trips for our family. So when we decided that we may be ready to spend 3 nights away without the kids (I originally proposed 2 nights and Sean countered with, “If we say three you have a deal.”) I got to work searching any and all direct “islandy” flights from Philadelphia. Our tropical destination awaits!
But then reality set in and the prices of airfare were nowhere near in our price range. I searched and searched and used all my travel notes and favorite resources to no avail. I concluded the search and told Sean, “If we’re meant to go, the right trip will find us.”
I kid you not, that evening we were watching something on TV and a commercial for Apple Vacations came on. I don’t remember the specifics, but the ad was something about $550 per person for 3 or 4 nights in Cancun including airfare, lodging, food, airport transfers and taxes. We paused the TV and were like, “Huh? How can this be real???” Well, I opened up the vacation search again and after some quick emails with Apple Vacations we were booked and going to Riviera Maya for 3 night getaway!!!!
Our contact at Apple was amazing, the process was ridiculously easy, the price was great and the trip was outstanding.
We flew Frontier (no complaints, actually really enjoyed it because the plane was new and the crew was super friendly), we stayed at the Grand Princess Sunset Resort in Riviera Maya. It was picture perfect. I honestly didn’t expect to be wowed because of the price, but we totally were. The grounds were gorgeous, the rooms were clean and pleasant and the staff was great. For an all-inclusive, the food was good, never great, but that is what I expected.
If you are considering this resort, here are my notes. If not, skip this paragraph.
- If you go with kids, there is a kid building with pool and cute little kid lounge chairs. They have push cars to borrow and other fun things. Kids are welcome everywhere but this area really caters to families. We checked it out for future reference. We also talked to families and they all loved it.
- The Platinum rooms are closest to the beach and are an upgrade that we wanted but were not available. Honestly, I’m not sure if it’s even necessary because our room category (Junior Suite Deluxe) was perfect as it included the extra restaurants.
- There is a shuttle that takes you to Playa Del Carmen daily for $4 per person each way.
- One night a week they bring in local merchants and have a market in the hotel square. It was so cool.
- Don’t go to the steakhouse. We enjoyed the Mexican Restaurant and La Fleur.
- They stock your fridge daily with plenty of bottled water (and beer).
- At the pool bar, try the Alexander if you like Baileys, try the Mango Tango if you like rum.
- Dance at the nightclub.
The first two days were rainy and it was still a party. We went swimming in the rain, drank at the pool bar (excellent people watching) and went dancing at the resort night club. The energy at the resort was awesome and everyone was so excited to be on vacation.
Nearly everything went right for us on the trip and it was so fun to just sit and talk with my best friend for hours uninterrupted.
Top photo credit: Pineapple Supply Co.